All posts tagged: 1400s

Rate the Dress: Late 15th century Florence does the Bible

Last week I  showed you a striped Schiaparelli frock.  It certainly caused a lot of commentary (almost twice the average for the last 4 months), but the response was quite divided.  Some of you thought the gown the epitome of Schiaparelli’s clever design and cutting.  Others thought it strange and hideous.  Many, many of you loved the back view, but hated the front.  I’m almost the opposite: I think the front is spectacular and unique and an absolute mastery of fabric, and without it, the gorgeous back would simply be run-of-the-mill red carpet: so sexy and pretty that it becomes boring.  So we’ll have to compromise at 7.8 out of 10, which is still rather good! This week I wanted to show you something in very bright pink, but couldn’t find the right dress, so instead let’s travel back in time to the Renaissance, to Domenico Ghirlandaio’s depiction of the birth of John the Baptist.  While Ghirlandaio was illustrating a scene from the Bible, his paintings are exquisite glimpeses into domestic life in upper-class Florentine households …

Accessorizing

The Accessorize challenge is coming up on the Historical Sew Fortnightly, and there is so much choice when it comes to what to make.  So many beautiful period accessories, so many periods! These are just a few of the items that are at the top of my ‘need an excuse to make this’ list. First off, every girl needs a beautiful fan.  I collect vintage fans – I should show you my collection.  I also aim to make fans.  I have hundreds I love, but one particular favourite is this spangled mid-19th century beauty.  It has Greek key motifs around the brim! As you have probably realised, I’m a bit of a shoe aficionado, but there are certain pairs that just make my heart go pitter-patter with adoration. Like these: Oh happiness in shoe form!  I’ve looked into Regency sandals, but before these I hadn’t realised there might be early 17th century sandals.  I want to know more about them, and I want to make them, and I don’t think the latter is entirely beyond …

Celebrating the common man (and what he and she wore)

Next fortnight’s challenge in the Historical Sew Fortnightly is Peasants and Pioneers.  It’s all about making clothes for the lower classes – the most common group, but also the ones whose clothes were the least documented, and the least likely to to have survived. I’ve got a serious soft spot for the clothing of the lower classes across almost all periods.  They may not be as bright or sparkly as the clothing of the upper classes, but they often managed a restraint and elegance that the fancier clothes of the wealthy and fashionable of certain periods (*cough* *cough* *Elizabethan*) were sorely lacking in.  Their practical nature quickly weeded out any cumbersome additions which made work difficult. I think my favourite peasant outfits and images are those from medieval manuscripts and Books of Hours from the 15th century.  The details are just so clear (look at the beautiful torn and ragged sleeves on the white tunic in the first image below), and the colours so vivid, though the clothes probably weren’t so bright in real life. …